That Abraham

By Jessica Visser
VLC Business Administrator

“No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”
Romans 4:20-21
Wow. If you didn’t catch that, go back and read it again. Go ahead…. I’ll wait.

I’ll give you some context. Paul is talking about Abraham. He is talking to the believers in Rome at the time, and as with the rest of the book of Romans, he is explaining the basics of our faith. Chapter 4 is actually discussing what it is that saves us. Is it what we do (how well we follow the rules) or is it our faith (how convinced we are in what we believe)? That’s another blog in itself.
Basically, Abraham was a fantastic example of faith. God counted his belief as righteousness. There are a few instances in the Bible where someone’s faith actually impresses God. And God continually calls attention to these people; to give us an example of the kind of faith He is looking for. One in particular is the centurion in Matthew 8:5-13. Jesus even “marveled at his faith.”
But Paul is calling attention to the depth of Abraham’s faith. Sometimes we read the Bible like these weren’t real people in a real world with real issues. We think, “Well of course he had faith- he was Abraham.”
Abraham didn’t know “he was Abraham.”
Abraham had seen God lead him, yes. But he didn’t have a whole lot of reference other than that. He didn’t have a Bible to read. If you didn’t know, Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible- 400 years after Abraham lived.
So, God tells Abraham that He’s going to have more descendants than the stars in the sky. And Abraham believes.
Paul writes it like this:
“As it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations’—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb.”   Romans 4:17-19
I hope you read that more than once; because there’s so much in there.
God told Him. He believed. Done.
He was old (and gee Paul… way to word that, “as good as dead” - ouch). His wife was barren. Didn’t matter. God said it. It would happen.
20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 
22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who 
believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”   Romans 4:20-25
God called special attention to Abraham and to the other heroes in the faith throughout the Bible so that we might see what He’s looking for. And instead of working hard to be the perfect [insert here] that we think we need to be, we need to be looking at our faith. Are you fully convinced that God is able to do what he promised? Are you fully convinced that God raised Jesus from the dead after he took care of your sins and made you right before God? Don’t let unbelief make you waver. Trust what God has done for you.
Did you see how he grew strong in his faith? It’s there in verse 20. “but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God.” As you give glory to God, focusing on who He is and what He is capable of, you will grow strong in your faith.
Abraham didn’t know he was that Abraham. Maybe you don’t know you’re that [your name here]. But wouldn’t you like to be counted among one of those people with impressive faith? If so, get ready; that’s not necessarily a safe prayer. But the world around us needs some dangerous pray-ers. Those you influence, Your descendants (spiritually or physically), need to see some heroes of the faith. Not for your sake, but for theirs.  
When He says it. Believe it. Done.
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